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Monday, September 2, 2019

Screaming Fastcore Interviews Jeremiah Brown (Slick Shoes)

Well, my friends. The band of this guy, is one of my all-time favs! Recently, the great Jeremiah Brown (Slick Shoes bassist), sat down with us, and talked about his experience of being in a band, Slick Shoes' missed recordings, the Tooth & Nail era, and many more... So ready? Let's go!

馃憠 Introduction:

Name: Jeremiah Brown
Age: 41

Instrument: Bass

馃憠 Music influencies:

Which are your main music influences?
Probably: Lagwagon, Propagandhi, Strung Out, Descendents, etc.

Which are your fav bands and music genres, nowadays?
I'm kind of all over the map with the different styles I listen to now. I'm still into the same punk bands I've been into most of my life as I listed above, but in the past ten years I've seen everyone from This Wild Life to Unearth, to Garth Brooks to Ed Sheeran, along with bands you'd expect- Lagwagon, New Found Glory, MxPx, Face To Face and Descendents. Recently, I've been listening to The Menzingers, Tiny Moving Parts, No Use For A Name, Strung Out's new album (SOOO good!), and Propagandhi's "Victory Lap".

What were your influences in the recording albums time?
Not much has changed. The albums I listened to most my senior year of highschool were Strung Out "Teenage Subsurban Wasteland Blues" and Propagandhi's "Less Talk, More Rock". Also had some "Hoss" and "More Betterness" in there.

Do you know any punk bands from South America?
I'm a little ashamed to say that I'm not familiar with any South American punk bands that I'm aware of. Maybe if you named some, I might not have known they were South American.

Or do you know any artist that sings in Spanish, maybe?
My wife introduced me to Mana a few years back, which I like a lot! Alex is a monster on drums, and their songs are catchy. I've also seen Juanes, haha.

 馃憠 Knowing the band:

What can you tell us about the old and new members of the band? I recently saw Greg playing second guitar on a show with Five Iron Frenzy.
The band structure is currently the original four guys from the EP, and Rusty, (Jackson, Joe, Ryan and myself). For about a year, Jonah, (who played on "Far From Nowhere" and toured with Slick Shoes in early 2000's), played some shows with us. We started getting busy around the time his son was born, and he made a decision to not play with us, and focus on his family. Shortly after that, Greg ("Wake Up Screaming" and "Self-Titled" album) offered to help us out for a couple of shows-one with Five Iron Frenzy, and one show we headlined in our hometown. The result and response has been great, so hopefully Greg will want to continue with us.

Any of the members have any parallel music projects today? I remember Sigmund when Slick Shoes went on a hiatus.
Since we are so limited on time, our focus has all been on Slick Shoes stuff when we aren't working or spending time with our families. I don't think Sigmund is doing stuff anymore, but I could be totally wrong. I think maybe Joe and Greg are still officially part of The Carmines, but they haven't been active for a while.

Do you consider Slick Shoes a band that should be playing more often?
I think we would all like to play more often than we have been recently. Ideally, maybe 5-6 weekends/year would be optimal. We definitely try to keep our priorities in check and make sure no matter what we do, we make sure to have time for our families and work too, so it's a balance.

How do you see Slick Shoes in the punk scene after all these years?
We feel fortunate to still be playing, and to still have an audience who wants to see us and hear new music. When MxPx brought us out from obscurity back in 2015 to play the shows where they recorded "Left Coast Live", I think we were all surprised by the response from our fans, and that gave us the motivation that propelled us to want to do more. Since then, every time we play a show, our fans show up and really bring the energy.

How is the relationship with bigger bands like the one Slick Shoes used to play in the past with? I remember a show with Face To Face years ago…
How the Face To Face thing happened was someone representing F2F contacted our former manager who we hadn't even been working with for years prior. They asked him if we would be interested in opening for them at the Glasshouse. If I recall, we weren't even playing shows at the time, but we didn't want to turn down the chance to play with F2F, so we did it (which was awesome by the way).
To answer the question, I guess it just depends on the band. We aren't in any contact with F2F, generally. We do have some rapport with bands we spent a lot of time with on tour, and other bands we were label mates with. When we get to hang out, its like no time has passed at all, but its not like we talk to them all the time.

馃憠 Curiosities:

What kind of music is the first demo? We would like to know all the possible info about both demo tapes. Such as: line up, tracklists, etc.
The first demo was pretty similar to our early T&N releases, except Jackson was singing. If I remember, it was 7 songs that never made it onto any of our later releases except "By What Right". It was mostly new school punk. I joined the band after they had started recording that first demo, and the lineup was Jackson, Joe, Jonathan and myself. (By the way, the picture you have posted on your website of our first demo isn’t actually a picture of the demo cover- that was actually a flyer to promote one of the early shows, which is how we used to tell people we were playing because there wasn't Facebook or Instagram yet, haha).
The second demo is actually what got Tooth & Nail interested in us. It was four songs, including "Five O Grind" and "My So Called Real World", which ultimately ended up on our blue EP. The lineup was Jackson, Joe, Ryan and I. Ryan was literally learning the songs as he was tracking the demo.

What happened with the split with Joe Electric and all those covers songs from the past?
We wanted to cover two of their songs, and they were going to cover two of our songs and put it out as a split EP, but somewhere along the way, I think someone at the label suggested a bunch of bands just cover Joy Electric songs, which never happened either. I don't know, it was a cool idea.

Why did Slick Shoes change members that much?
That's a loaded question, haha! No band ever decides that they want to change members at the beginning. For us, I think once we got signed, knew we were about to tour, and got some traction, we believed this could be our career. We wanted to take it as far as we could. I think for a tiny percentage of bands, it works out to be that way. But for the vast majority of bands, including us, it just wasn’t sustainable, and it wasn't conducive to our bigger goals of having families and being able to support them financially. We just came to that realization one at a time. Eventually, other priorities had to take their proper place.

Do you consider Slick Shoes a Christian punk still?
Honestly, the band is the band. We love to get together and hang out together and write music for the simple enjoyment of it. There is no agenda to write about specific things, or to consider it an outreach of any kind. Each of us have our beliefs, and varying degrees of faith and involvement with one church or another. Being a Christian is a personal decision, and each of us would probably give you a different answer, so I can't speak for the other guys. As far as me, I still believe in God and I pray, but I'm not actively involved with any church on a regular basis.

What memories do you have from the Tooth & Nail time? Still in contact with some of the bands like The Undecided, Value Pac, Craig's Brother, etc.
The Tooth & Nail days contain a lot of memories for me, most of which are very positive moments in my life. I always loved touring. I liked the camaraderie and being stuck in a van with my best friends.  I liked meeting our fans and hanging out in new cities. We got to see some cool places. Not everyone gets to do that, and I feel fortunate that we were able to do that for a few years.
We keep in touch occasionally with some of the members of some of those bands. We even just played a show last year with Craig's Brother. I still talk to Josh from Dogwood and Dan from The Undecided, and some other guys who still tour, but it's not very often.

馃憠 Band plans:

Any new music soon? Maybe a new record apart from the live one!!!
You'll have to wait and see.

What could you tell us about the new live record you recorded a few months ago?
It was a great experience, but a lot of the details to complete everything took longer than we hoped or expected. The mixing and mastering is all complete. We just completed the artwork for it, and we should have an announcement regarding that in the coming months.

What should we expect from Slick Shoes in 2019/2020?
I don't know how much I can talk about it, but we definitely have a lot of news coming up. (DISCLAIMER: We are not going to do any full on tours, so that's not what I am hinting at). We will be working with some old friends on some new things, and some old things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the news.

馃憠 Touring:

Do you guys have any plans on touring outside North America?
No plans for full tours anywhere, but we are definitely interested in flying out for shows. It often doesn’t work out financially, or with our limited vacation schedules, but I think we are open to it if it does make sense.

Have you been contacted to tour in other countries or continents?
Yeah, we had a guy offer to set up a tour in Japan, and a couple other promoters asking about festivals in different countries. But we haven't reached terms that make sense for us to do those for now. Perhaps, in the future.

Would you guys like to go to South America? 
Definitely.

What do you know about Latin America's punk scene and culture?
The only thing I know is that it must be awesome, because our fans there are persistent. Every time we announce a show, people comment wanting us to come to South America. Hopefully, we get to meet some of them someday soon!

馃憠 Message to the fans:

Do you guys know the site Screaming Fastcore?
I only know about Screaming Fastcore from talking to you, and some of the stuff you have posted about us. 

What's your opinion about sharing music online? 
At this point, it’s just the way it is. People are going to share music. It doesn’t really affect us in our personal lives in the sense that we have jobs to pay our bills and take care of our families. I think it actually benefits us when people share our music with people who will potentially become new fans. I personally buy music, (I collect vinyl records), and I pay for Spotify. I personally, like to financially support bands that I like so that they can continue to afford to create new music and to tour.

Do you think the music industry hasn’t adapted to the changes?
I'm not sure anyone really has the music industry figured out right now. There are many different ways bands can choose to go. Some are very successful crowd-funding and promoting themselves on social media. Other bands still benefit from signing with labels. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation anymore. While YouTube and other social media outlets have given a platform for anyone to put content out for the world to hear, it still isn't simple. Because that platform is available to everyone, there is so much content out there that it makes it that much harder for bands to get the attention of viewers. So I still think that record labels still have a place for sure.

What message would you like to send to the Latin American and rest of the world fans?
Thank you for your support! We hope to get come play for you and meet some of you in the future.

Follow and listen to Slick Shoes on all their social networks:
Facebook / Instagram / TwitterSpotify / Deezer / iTunes / Bandcamp

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